Adelaide Botanic Park, Sun Mar 8

It’s Sunday, and it appears that the biggest crowd of the weekend thus far has come to worship at the altar of World Music. I cruise past the irreverent Spandexx Ballet’s crowd-friendly workout routine, and watch a group of drummers marching through the crowd, making a percussive racket. Here I am, again.

I move around a bit in the early afternoon. I see some of Max Savage and the False Idols’ Americana-blues show up at Speakers’ Corner, but I also want to take in the Malawi Mouse Boys and this will be my only chance. I stroll down to Stage 2 and watch them perform their own version of devotional music. It’s sweet, chaotic and deep, sometimes all at once.

It’s a warm, sunny day and shade has become a premium. Get to your chosen act early, and stake your claim.

Mista Savona with Prince Alla & Randy Valentine put on a reggae-rooted hour-long show on Centre Stage. There’s a strong Jamaican flavour running through the performance and the crowd is happy to skank along with the beat or, in some cases, gently rock with the rhythm. Either way, people are into it.

The opportunity to see Sóley for a second time proves too great a temptation, so I eschew the chance of hearing something new in favour of seeing this marvellous Icelandic trio work their magic once again. I’m not disappointed. Same songs; every bit as breathtaking. I could watch and listen to it again in a heartbeat.

On the Zoo Stage I catch the reggae-infused pop music of the Tjintu Desert band. It’s a pretty good-sized crowd and everyone I can see is getting into the groove.

It’s back up to Speakers’ Corner to see Neneh Cherry with Rocket Number Nine+. It seems that everyone else has had the same idea. It’s the biggest crowd yet that I have seen at this stage. Cherry is bold, her voice is strong, and the trio presents an interesting set. It’s a surprise for Cherry and the audience when Youssou N’Dour pops onto the stage, and says hello. But, sadly, within seven seconds he’s away, without singing a note.

It’s obvious that The Colour of Time has passed through the crowd because half the people I see are covered in powdery colour.

I manage to catch First Aid Kit on the Centre Stage and, despite having another review to do at another venue, I end up staying for the entire set. It’s my first exposure to the Swedish sisters and their band, and it’s clear that they are a highly polished, very professional pop group. Their attractive pop-rock-folk songs are neatly executed, and very easy on the ear. Even their heaviest moments they manage to sound like radio-friendly pop. Their sharing of lead vocals creates a sound that is unusual in today’s world.

As night falls, I must sadly and prematurely end my WOMADelaide adventure. Other commitments require my presence. It was fun while it lasted.

David Robinson

Image courtesy of David Robinson

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